The race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders reached a watershed in Tuesday’s Democratic Wisconsin primary.
Secretary Clinton, the presumptive party nominee, lost to Sanders for the sixth straight time. His Wisconsin margin of victory was a substantial 57% to 43%.
On Saturday, April 9, Wyoming will hold its Democratic caucus, a western state venue that favors Sanders. On April 19, the two will meet again in the delegate-rich New York primary, a state in which Sanders was born and Hillary served as a U.S. Senator.
Forty years ago, it was in the 1976 Wisconsin primary that Jimmy Carter was transformed from “Jimmy Who”, as even his home state Atlanta Journal once called him, to a candidate on the fast track to his party’s nomination.
Carter was outside the establishment mainstream, making him an outlier not unlike this year’s candidate, the avowed democratic socialist Senator from Vermont.
Carter had only recently started to attract notice with his 1976 upset Iowa caucus finish, second only to a slate of delegates pledged to “uncommitted”. His major opponent in Wisconsin was Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, an establishment candidate.
The 1976 Wisconsin race was so close that the Milwaukee Journal declared Congressman Udall the winner in an early edition, repeating the embarrassment of the Chicago Tribune‘s famous early edition headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman”. (see above).
Forty years later, the establishment 2016 candidate, Secretary Clinton, has absolutely no known connection to a developing financial scandal now breaking in the middle of her campaign against Sanders.
For Clinton, however, this is not a good time for a big money scandal to emerge. Her campaign benefits from money raised from big donors, but given the rising tide of support for Sanders, her benefit can also be a burden.
Sanders’ campaign has consistently deplored big money control of the U.S. and world economies.
Revelations now emerging from what is being called the Panama Papers, give Sanders more anti-one per cent stump speech fodder.
Both Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have many wealthy donor friends who obviously benefit her campaign coffers and their Clinton Foundation.
This is a burden she must carry as she struggles to win votes in the coming primaries and caucuses, and, she hopes, the November general election.
Sanders does not implicate Clinton in the current financial scandal. However, his supporters see Sanders as the champion of the “rest of us”.
In a New York Times editorial, the Panama Papers are examined, carefully.
The Times wrote:
The first reaction to the leaked documents dubbed the Panama Papers is simply awe at the scope of the trove and the ingenuity of the anonymous source who provided the press with 11.5 million documents — 2.6 terabytes of data — revealing in extraordinary detail how offshore bank accounts and tax havens are used by the world’s rich and powerful to conceal their wealth or avoid taxes.
Then comes the disgust. With more than 14,000 clients around the world and more than 214,000 offshore entities involved, Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm whose internal documents were exposed, piously insists it violated no laws or ethics.
But the questions remain: How did all these politicians, dictators, criminals, billionaires and celebrities amass vast wealth and then benefit from elaborate webs of shell companies to disguise their identities and their assets? Would there have been no reckoning had the leak not occurred?
A day before the prime minister of Iceland announced his resignation after his name appeared in the Papers, Gonzalo Delaveau, the president of the Chilean chapter of Transparency International also vacated his office after he was named for his alleged involvement with secret companies.
Transparency International is an organization monitoring government and corporate corruption. While Delaveau is not accused of illegal activity, the leaks call into question his role as head of an organization monitoring government and corporate corruption.
President Obama did not help Clinton dispel the oppressive aura of big money when he recently talked to reporters about the Panama Papers.
“We’ve had another reminder in this big dump of data coming out of Panama that tax avoidance is a big, global problem,” the President said.
He added, ”It’s not unique to other countries because frankly there are folks here in America that are taking advantage of this same stuff. A lot of it’s legal, but that’s exactly the problem.”
Again, it must be stressed that in no way is Secretary Clinton linked to the “big dump of data”, to which President Obama referred.
But it remains her burden to seek the White House against an energetic Bernie Sanders while the Panama Papers push big money into the media spotlight.
She will have to carry that burden into a debate with Sanders in Brooklyn, five days before the New York primaries. The DNC-sanctioned debate will be on CNN, April 14, from 9 to 11 p.m. EST.
The New York debate would be a good place for Secretary Clinton to remind the nation which she seeks to lead, that there is a captive population in Palestine which suffers under a total military control that brings with it the burden of being occupied by another nation.
Such a declaration would call for political courage from Secretary Clinton. It would also be an admission from her that some burdens are heavier to carry than others.
The picture of President Carter is an AP photo from the Milwaukee Journal. The picture of Gonzalo Delaveau is from the Nation of Change website.